Posts tagged ‘Republican’

Meet Dean Chambers, The Virginia Republican Who Is ‘Unskewing’ The Polls

Meet Dean Chambers, The Virginia Republican Who Is ‘Unskewing’ The Polls.

David Taintor September 28, 2012, 4:38 PM 1870

With Republicans up in arms over poll after poll showing President Obama ahead, conservatives have latched on to a new polling site that promises to “unskew” the data, correcting what the site believes are polling samples with too many darn Democrats. Rick Perry has tweeted his approval of the site — which shows Mitt Romney ahead by 7.4 points — and even Stephen Colbert expressed his faux appreciation.

Here’s what the site’s founder, Dean Chambers, does. He changes the baseline assumption on how much of the electorate is Republican and how much is Democratic. Initially, he used Rasmussen’s real numbers on party identification to re-weight various polls. Rasmussen’s numbers break down to 37.6 percent Republican, 33.3 percent Democrat and 29.2 percent Independent. As of Thursday night, Chambers began using party identification numbers from his own web-based poll.

Chambers’ project started in July after he noticed an ABC News/Washington Post poll that “just didn’t look right.” An ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted this month showed Obama up over Romney 49 percent to 48 percent. “Unskewed,” however, after applying Rasmussen’s numbers on party ID, Romney leads Obama 52-45 in the poll. It’s like magic. But Chambers insists he isn’t “changing” or “making up” data. “The only thing I’m doing is weighting.”

But that’s exactly what most pollsters don’t do. “We don’t have any preconceived notions about the party breakdown of a poll before we conduct it. The only things we make any adjustments for are gender, race, and age,” Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling’s Tom Jensen told TPM in an email. “It makes sense that as support for Obama increases, more people also identify themselves as Democrats. I know conservatives want to think it’s more Democrats in the poll causing Obama to do better, but it’s actually Obama doing better causing more Democrats in the poll.”

“The reality is that (Republicans are) losing, they can’t accept it, and they’re going to find some reason to dismiss every poll that makes them unhappy no matter what its composition is,” Jensen added. “This isn’t really about Party ID, it’s about hardcore denial.”

In every poll Chambers has reworked — save for a recent “unskewed” Fox News poll that has Obama up 2 points — Romney leads the incumbent. While Chambers, 45, of Duffield, Va., is a Romney supporter and longtime Republican, he said he is simply reporting the numbers “as they are.”

It doesn’t quite work that way, though. Scott Rasmussen told BuzzFeed this week: “you cannot compare partisan weighting from one polling firm to another.” Different firms ask about party identification differently, he explained. It’s not apples to apples. Rasmussen added:

“Some ask how you are registered. Some ask what you consider yourselves. Some push for leaners, others do not. Some ask it at the beginning of a survey which provides a more stable response while others ask it at the end.”

Missing from Chambers’ model is the fact that party identification is not a static metric. The current PollTracker average of party identification, which tracks the broader samples of American adults, shows 33.3 percent of citizens consider themselves Democrats, 22.1 percent Republicans and 34.3 percent independents. In 2010, when Republicans swept the House of Representatives and made gains in statehouses across the country, Republican party identification was much higher, around 31 percent. Based on a web poll he is currently conducting on his site, Chambers found only a 0.4 point spread between Democrats and Republicans today, with Democrats holding a narrow edge.

Still, Chambers said he believes pollsters aren’t skewing the data with malicious intent. They are just operating under faulty assumptions, he said, believing there are many more self-identified Democrats in the country today than Republicans. But the media, Chamber said, are over-reporting the polls showing Obama ahead. “That’s driving the analysis,” he said. “If one were to believe all these polls, you would think (the election is) over. It’s not over.”

Meanwhile, here’s the PollTracker average of where the presidential race stands today:

Conservative Darling Ayn Rand Died Loving Government Handouts – Culture – GOOD

Of the welfare state, the conservative philosopher and author Ayn Rand once wrote, “Morally and economically, the welfare state creates an ever accelerating downward pull.” As it turns out, however, toward the end of her life, Rand ended up relying quite heavily on its help.

According to the new book An Oral History of Ayn Rand, faced with lung cancer after a life spent smoking, and without the wealth needed to combat that cancer, Rand adopted an assumed name to seek government funds for her treatment.

An interview with Evva Pryror, a social worker and consultant to Miss Rand’s law firm of Ernst, Cane, Gitlin and Winick verified that on Miss Rand’s behalf she secured Rand’s Social Security and Medicare payments which Ayn received under the name of Ann O’Connor (husband Frank O’Connor).

As Pryor said, “Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out” without the aid of these two government programs. Ayn took the bail out even though Ayn “despised government interference and felt that people should and could live independently… She didn’t feel that an individual should take help.”

This calls to mind another famous Rand quote: “A building has integrity just like a man. And just as seldom.”

photo via Wikimedia Commons


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Ayn Rand was a Futurist, Visionary. The Truth is…I am sure she understood in the context of the Universe that everything about life should be free. Food, Shelter, Clothing and a roof over your head. Unfortunatly we live in an over popuated world. I am sure she also believed in Compassion, Love and the persuit of Happiness. Another unfortunate thing is we live in a world where Governmental Overlords think they have the right (Which they do not) to interfare in all areas of everyones life. But soon the Tyrannical Dictators will soon have to turn in their Keys, for they have been bad Stewards over things that do not belong to them!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011, 9:19:09 PM


Ayn Rand was a Futurist, Visionary. The Truth is…I am sure she understood in the context of the Universe that everything about life should be free. Food, Shelter, Clothing and a roof over your head. Unfortunatly we live in an over popuated world. I am sure she also believed in Compassion, Love and the persuit of Happiness. Another unfortunate thing is we live in a world where Governmentla Overlords think they have the right (Which they do not) to interfare is all areas of everyones life. But soon the Tyrannical Dictators will soon have to turn in their Keys, for they have been bad Stewards over things that do not belong to them!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011, 9:17:49 PM


Old age ailments and compulsion changes human’s lifelong perception. Ayan rand’s contribution is too great to be undermined by such petty compulsion of life

Thursday, February 03, 2011, 12:05:29 PM


@Liberals Cann All Leave Then

Thursday, February 03, 2011, 5:13:56 AM


Liberals Cann All Leave Then
If, as many liberal commenters believe, that one cannot use a government road if they decry the taxes that paid for it, then all liberals who whine and cry about the United States policies, such as immigration, can follow their own advice and leave to another country. Goodbye. Either leave or stop being hypocrites, whining and crying about others when you yourself do the very same thing. Although, I profoundly believe that it is anathema to a liberal not to whine and cry.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011, 3:11:34 PM


I can’t say I blame her for trying to get her money’s worth. OK, I’m being facetious. Whether she liked it or not, she still had to pay taxes by force of the law of the land.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011, 9:40:21 AM


The Guest
@John Galt: Any proof about her legal name? I prefer a long form birth certificate which I can view with my own eyes and touch with my own fingers. Otherwise, I’ll continue to believe the rumor about her being born in Great Britain.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011, 1:28:25 AM


So if you diagree with the politics / government of the country you live in, your only option is to flee the country, otherwise you are a hypocrite?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011, 1:20:44 AM


I would like to note, however, that this is a common argument made against libertarians.  Somehow, the argument goes, we are hypocrites for benefiting from government programs.  This is a pretty simplistic argument.  It is not at all inconsistent to decry government healthcare and simultaneously accept government healthcare benefits.  If the government totally socialized healthcare, and I got sick, then I would use government doctors because the only alternative is death.  I would rather use private insurance in a capitalist healthcare market, but the government’s monopoly would make that impossible.  Anyway, as a tax payer, I would be paying twice for healthcare if I sought private insurance and rejected the government handout.
This same line of argument applies to roads, socialized retirement programs (social security), police, firefighters, public schools, etc.  When you break it down, the situation proceeds thusly:
Step 1: We socialize X (where X can be education, healthcare, roads, etc.)Step 2: Since we can force people to pay for socialist X whether they want to or not, we drive all other producers of X out of business (sometimes leaving premium markets remaining at dramatically higher prices: think private schools)Step 3: Now, the only X that is reasonably available is socializedStep 4: Even staunch liberty-loving people are forced to buy X from the government (remember, if they are still paying taxes it is a sale, not a handout)Step 5: Self-righteous progressive statists sneer and giggle at the marvelous hypocrisy of those backwards libertarians
So, Rand’s acceptance of government healthcare benefits and social security is not surprising or against her credo.  In a perfect world, she would be able to get affordable insurance after the age of 65 in a free market.  Likewise, she would not have a chunk of her income confiscated every year for social security, and she would have had the right to invest her savings as she saw fit.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 8:01:49 PM


John Galt
Her real name was Ann O’Connor and her pen name was Ayn Rand.  She wouldn’t have been allowed to file under Ayn Rand if she tried.  Her birth name was Alissa Rosenbaum, from the USSR, and was never legally Ayn Rand.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 4:59:45 PM


“Are you a hypocrite if you drive on a government road when you advocate the privatization of roads?”
Yes, you are.
If I believed, as did Ayn, that taxation was slavery, I would not participate in it at ALL.  I would flee across the border to whatever tax haven I could find where taxation was either nonexistent or at least minimized as much as possible.
Anyone who truly believes that taxation is slavery and who remains within a country that is taxing its citizens is not only a hypocrite, but, as a beneficiary of “slavery”, they are immoral.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 3:28:49 PM


Mike in SF
Well we could start by attacking her “philosophy” as being nothing but bad retreads of other people’s ideas.
Then we could go on to the fact that her books are awful and unreadable as fiction. They’re just political polemics dressed up as novels, and she seems to love having her male characters rape women. What’s that about?
Then we can progress to this. It’s completely hypocritical to rail against the state with one side of your mouth and then take the state’s aid from the other. Utterly hypocritical. If you can’t see that, you’re silly (or Rep. Michelle Bachmann).
She was entitled to claim Medicare and social security, just like everyone else, but claiming this wasn’t hypocrisy is stupid. Clearly she didn’t want people to find out, since she used her married name and not her pen name.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 3:18:20 PM


Ragnard, the fact that Rand saw the need to use a fake name tell you all you need to know. She didn’t think it was consistent with her values.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 10:44:42 AM


“Government hasn’t made the cost of healthcare astronomical – business and the profit motive has. Fact. Single payer would have helped – but you didn’t support that, did you?”
BS.  Health insurance companies’ profit margins run about 3%.  It’s one of the lowest of any industry in America.  The only way the government can lower costs significantly is by fixing prices, which can only have the effect of lowering the quantity and quality of the care provided.  That means waiting lists, death panels, and careless doctors who are pissed off that they went to school for 8 years to make a measley $50,000/year.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 10:42:59 AM


I agree Ayn Rand was not a hypocrite.  The government owns and operates about 99.9% of the roads, highways, bridges and other such vehicle infrastructure.  Are you a hypocrite if you drive on a government road when you advocate the privatization of roads?  Are you a hypocrite when you go on public television or public radio to advocate the abolishment of these government programs?  The answer is no you are trying to change a system within the system.  The government takes 30% of your money regulates your health care and health insurance as to raise the price of the good or service and then when you want back a little bit of the money it stole from you calls you a hypocrite.  I think those opposed to Ayn Rand don’t have anything philosophical to attack her with so they make stuff up and come up with the lamest arguments and rumors.  Try attacking a premise of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 10:21:52 AM


STEVO: here’s a memo for you.
Government hasn’t made the cost of healthcare astronomical – business and the profit motive has. Fact. Single payer would have helped – but you didn’t support that, did you?

Monday, January 31, 2011, 8:51:00 AM


this is like Hemingway blowing his brains.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 8:48:53 AM


Actually, she wasn’t a hypocrite, and if you had a f’n clue you wouldn’t have to make such a fool out of yourself.  Rand thought that state-funded redistribution programs were essentially theft (she was right), and as such, a person has the full right to take advantage of those programs that they paid into, in the same way that a victim of a robbery has the right to have what was stolen returned to them.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 8:02:57 AM


Remember she had to pay an onslaught of approximately 50% of her earned income to yearly taxes. So, of course she needed some assistance at the end of her life. Stop the welfare state and those of us that actually work get to keep more of their earned income.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 6:22:07 AM


I’m sure Rand had some great ideals about independence of a person, but in the end, one has to rely on one’s government to a degree, at least. I live in Canada and while we have a lot of socialized programs, like our health care, I seek not to abuse our system and use it when I have a cold. No doctor can do anything for a cold. I fight it out with teas and honey and lemon, and that’s that. Socialized systems can work when you have a reasonably educated populace that knows better than to abuse it.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 4:50:20 AM


If she wasn’t a hypocrite then why did she apply under another name?

Monday, January 31, 2011, 2:43:11 AM


If the U.S. is a socialized state, then what in Christ’s name is a well-functioning welfare state like Finland called? Ignorance is apparently not bliss, it’s jackassery to the highest degree.

Sunday, January 30, 2011, 4:39:05 PM


when you live in a socialized state like the us, you can’t afford healthcare because government has made the cost astronomical.

Sunday, January 30, 2011, 2:10:58 PM


Ayn Rand was in no way a hypocrite. See for more refutation than this garbage deserves.

Sunday, January 30, 2011, 12:26:39 PM


What a hypercritical woman.  She has ably illustrated the need for the welfare state, but just because of politics she could not acknowledge its positive effects.  Just like the current Con\Dem government – bringing the nation to it’s feet just to say that there values are better than other parties.  Shame on her and on them.

Sunday, January 30, 2011, 4:35:10 AM


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Conservative Darling Ayn Rand Died Loving Government Handouts – Culture – GOOD

The GOP war on organized labor: Jan Brewer’s bid to be the Scott Walker of the


The GOP war on organized labor: Jan Brewer‘s bid to be the Scott Walker of the West begins Wednesday

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Heads up people! This is the bid by Jan Brewer to be the Scott Walker of the West that I have been warning you about for months. Jan Brewer seeks to go well beyond the assault on collective bargaining rights that led to the pending recall election of Scott Walker in Wisconsin. She wants to do away with more than 100 years of civil service merit selection system protection to return to the spoils system of political patronage and the days of Tamanny Hall.

And once again, it the evil bastards at the Goldwater Institute, a partner of ALEC, that has drafted the model legislation. You can bet that their media arm at the anti-union Arizona Republic will be all for this.

Brahm Resnik from Channel 12 news reports Brahm Resnik blog – Sweeping bills attack public employee unions:

Arizona’s Republican Legislature could virtually wipe out public employee unions in a sweeping new package of legislation far broader than the collective-bargaining bills that shut down Wisconsin’s Capitol last spring.

The bills would:

Make it illegal for government bodies to collectively bargain with employee groups. Public safety unions would be included in the ban.

End the practice of automatic payroll deductions for union dues.

Ban compensation of public employees for union work.

Wisconsin’s collective bargaining law enacted last year made unions effectively irrelevant by limiting issues that could be bargained by a government and an employee group. Arizona’s bills would do away with collective bargaining entirely and also go beyond Wisconsin law by including public safety unions.

Coupled with Gov. Jan Brewer’s plan to do away with civil-service protections  for state employees, the new legislation could make Arizona ground zero for union protests during this election year.

The Goldwater Institute  worked with state lawmakers to draw up the bills. The libertarian think tank has churned out research and reports over the past few years highlighting what it views as excesses in public-sector employment.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was the guest of honor at Goldwater’s annual dinner last November. Walker had some advice for Arizona legislators when I interviewed him on “Sunday Square Off.”

The package of bills is scheduled for a hearing at 9 a.m. Wednesday before the Senate Government Reform Committee.

Watch for more on this story on 12 News at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

I don’t know what the Occupy movement has been doing of late, but this is your call to action. The Madison Revolution in Wisconsin needs to be brought to bear on the Capitol in Phoenix. This assault on the working people of the American middle-class cannot be allowed to stand. It’s time to take a stand against the radical extremists of the right. They want Arizona to be ground zero? Bring it! Everyone to the Capitol on Wednesday.

Action Alert from the Arizona AFL-CIO below the fold.

Well, here we go again.  The Republicans in the Legislature have decided to go after Union workers again.  Instead of focusing on the creation of jobs and improving education for our children, they have decided you have no right to a collective voice. At this time we do not have the court’s decision on the last round of anti-worker bills they attempted to put into law last session, but the Goldwater Institute has called on their “friends” at the Legislature to try and make sure your freedom to belong to a Union is tied up in endless regulations and restrictions. Why does the Goldwater Institute want your rights compromised?

SB 1484
  Paycheck Deductions

SB 1485  Unions; Public Employees; Prohibitions

SB 1486  Public Employees; Activities; Unions; Compensation

SB 1487  Government Employees; Union Dues; Withholding

These bills are on the agenda for the Senate Government Reform Committee Wednesday, 2/1/12 at 9am, in Senate Room 3.  Please e-mail and call the following committee members to let them know you want a NO vote on these bills.  Ask them to focus on the agenda of the voters of Arizona.  Tell them we need jobs in Arizona and not restrictions on workers.

Government Reform Committee:

Chairman Rick Murphy: (602) 926-4444  

Vice Chairman:  Lori Klein: (602) 926-5284


Frank Antenori:  (602) 926-5683

Judy Burges: (602) 926-5861

Steve Smith: (602) 926- 5685


Steve Gallardo:  (602) 926-5830

David Lujan: (602)926- 5829

In Solidarity.

Rebekah Friend

Executive Director

UPDATE: Here is Brahm Resnik’s report from Tuesday on Channel 12.

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Go Home February 01, 2012 09:00 AM The GOP: Preaching the Prosperity Gospel By Tina Dupuy

One of the richest men in the country, ranking in the 0.006 percent of Americans, likes to accuse the President of creating an “entitlement society.” Mitt Romney, the heir apparent, next in line GOP nominee … is against entitlement.

When I hear “entitlement society” I think, “country club.” But When Mitt uses that phrase he doesn’t mean rich guys like him, given all the advantages of wealth, who are now enjoying its comforts – he means the rest of us. Yes, Mitt is against an “entitlement society” because that involves too many people and not just him and his ilk. It’s not the “entitlement” he contests – it’s the entire “society” part.

At the Monday Florida debate last week Mitt noted that under Gingrich’s tax plan Mitt would pay no taxes at all. Gingrich responded with, “Well, if that — and if you created enough jobs doing that — it was Alan Greenspan who first said the best rate, if you want to create jobs for capital gains, is zero.”

So rich people whose money makes their money (it’s literally capital gaining) are so fortunate they get to hire other people to pay taxes for them? Rich people with their alleged mythical power to create jobs even get to outsource their tax obligations to poor saps working for a living?

This is the prosperity gospel as a Super PAC-funded marketing blitz. Money is next to godliness and poverty is the fault of the poor for not being better people.

It’s as if Jesus were a CEO and the Romans job-killing communists.

“Contrary to the President’s constant disparagement of people in business,” former George W. Bush budget director Gov. Mitch Daniels said in his State of the Union response last week, “It’s one of the noblest of human pursuits.” This is one of those phrases you (usually) will only hear in business school (funnier if it was one of those rip-off for-profit colleges). Business is one of the noblest of human pursuits? Noble as in aristocratic? That phrase, “noble pursuits,” is usually applied to an avocation not paying much but rewarding in other ways: teachers; firefighters; nurses; foster parents; soldiers; community leaders; social workers; mentors; rescue workers; care givers; farmers. Or to anyone who’s honest, shows up every day and works hard. That’s a noble pursuit.

Are the wealthy really so sensitive they need Mitch Daniels to make them feel better about themselves in a spiritual sense? What they’re doing not only pays off with privilege and cash – it also has to be venerable from a moral perspective? How much reward does one group need? They own everything and they also need to be thanked?!

The rich are not just over-paid – they’re over valued. And generous welfare recipients.

As Senator Tom Coburn points out in his damning Nov. 2011 report, “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous,” we are a wealthfare state. It reads, “This reverse Robin Hood style of wealth redistribution is an intentional effort to get all Americans bought into a system where everyone appears to benefit.” In other words: We subsidize the rich by telling the poor to pay their fair share.

It’s been a strange three years under the Obama administration. First the GOP was against empathy. Yes, the party had to vehemently opposed seeing the plight of your fellow human beings because Obama was for it. Now their new hot button word? Fairness. Obama used the word fairness in his third State of the Union. And now the GOP has decided to be against fairness and celebrate inequality as being the thing that makes America great.

It’s as if Jesus were a CEO and the three wise men were shareholders.

The prosperity gospel is not America. It’s not democratic. It’s not even Christian. It’s greed warped into being a virtue by the greedy.

The rich aren’t better, they’re just richer.

Tags: Bain Capital, CEO, Diplomatic Relations, entitlement, George W. Bush, Mitch Daniels, Newt Gingrich, Obama Administration, Politics, Politics of the United States, Republican Party, Rich and Famous, State Of the Union, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Arizona Gov. Jane Brewer Tell Obama To Stop Joking About Immigration Crisis

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May 8, 2010 |  1:04 pm


In State Of The Union, Obama Calls For Minimum 30 Percent Tax On Millionaires

ofalo on Jan 24, 2012 at 10:27 pm

During tonight’s State of the Union, President Obama — noting that one quarter of millionaires are able to pay less in taxes than millions of middle class families — called for a minimum 30 percent income tax rate for millionaires. Obama also took on the favorite Republican talking point that calling for millionaires to pay their fair share in taxes is “class warfare”:

Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes…Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.

We don’t begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich. It’s because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference – like a senior on a fixed income; or a student trying to get through school; or a family trying to make ends meet. That’s not right. Americans know it’s not right.

Watch it:

Even before the President’s speech ended, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) had posted a statement deriding the Buffett rule as a “political gimmick.” “Because the president clearly cannot run on his record, he has regrettably turned to the politics of envy and division,” Boehner’s statement read.

Earlier in the speech, President Obama also called for a mortgage refinancing plan, paid for by a new fee on the largest banks in the country. “I’m sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low interest rates,” Obama said. “No more red tape. No more runaround from the banks. A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won’t add to the deficit, and will give banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust.”


 Previous in TP Economy

Afghanistan: Obama’s Moment of Decision – The Daily Beast

  A new Senate report says billions of dollars in aid go to waste in Afghanistan, where the president is about to make a decision about troop levels. But as Andrew J. Bacevich argues, the question is a distraction from a far more fundamental choice.Once the capital of a nation defined by inalienable rights; government of, by, and for the people; Fourteen Points; Four Freedoms; and “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!,” Washington is today preoccupied with Anthony Weiner’s crotch and parsing Sarah Palin’s interpretation of Paul Revere’s ride as a defense of the Second Amendment. What used to be known as the people’s business is today becoming indistinguishable from farce. Whether our ruling class possesses the ability even to identify the matters deserving the attention of senior policymakers has become an open question.

Afghanistan: Obama’s Moment of Decision – The Daily Beast

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The $2.5 Trillion Tragedy: What America Has Given Up For 10 Years Of Bush Tax Cuts | ThinkProgress

ni on Jun 7, 2011 at 9:15 amWe could’ve guaranteed health care for every child for the cost of the Bush tax cuts.Today marks the 10th anniversary of former President George W. Bush signing into law his 2001 tax cuts (he passed a second round in 2003). While doing so, Bush promised prosperity and growth, but the nation got neither.The cost of these budget-busting 2001 and 2003 tax cuts was, as estimated by Citizens for Tax Justice, roughly $2.5 trillion through 2010. But America didn’t have to go down this route of cutting taxes and hoping for growth to miraculously appear. There were other policy options available to policymakers.

The $2.5 Trillion Tragedy: What America Has Given Up For 10 Years Of Bush Tax Cuts | ThinkProgress

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Despite What Boehner Says, Republicans Have Voted To Cut Medicare, Repeatedly

The words “voted to” could come back to haunt House Speaker John Boehner.

In his weekly Capitol briefing with reporters Thursday, Boehner made an unmistakably false claim. “The only people in Washington, DC who have voted to cut Medicare have been the Democrats when they voted to cut $500 billion in Medicare during Obamacare,” he said. Given a chance to walk it back, Boehner’s spokesman did not.

Even if you leave out the key modifier “voted to” this is far from true. Both parties have actually “cut” Medicare many times over the years. Republicans in particular haven’t just voted for cuts, but passed legislation that presidents either signed or vetoed.

That happened repeatedly in the 1990s, as laid out in detail here. In late 1995 and early 1996, it precipitated a government shutdown. In 1997, it resulted in the Balanced Budget Act.

But if you leave the modifier in, this turns into a huge whopper.

Not only did Republicans vote aspirationally to cut Medicare — in both the near and short term, and by huge amounts — in their dead-on-arrival budget this year, they’ve arguably made cutting Medicare a hallmark of what it means to be a Republican.

Here’s a brief, incomplete recap of how that’s played out in recent years.

The House GOP budget — which an overwhelming majority of Republicans in both chambers voted for — would cut Medicare in the near-term by repealing the new health care law. That would re-open the prescription drug donut hole, and rescind new guaranteed wellness benefits for seniors. It would also maintain the health care law’s $500 billion Medicare cuts — principally over-payments to private insurers participating in Medicare advantage.

It would impose much, much larger cuts in the long term. Setting aside the privatization scheme, the government saves money under the plan principally by capping Medicare spending (the value of the subsidies to private insurers) and pegging that cap to inflation — way below the rate of growth of medical costs. That’s a cut no matter how you slice it.

They’ve been at this very plan for some time.

In 2009, 137 or their 178-member minority, including Boehner, voted for the Republican alternative budget, authored by — whom else — Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). That budget will sound familiar. It “[p]reserves the current Medicare program for individuals 55 and older. For those under 55, the resolution gradually converts the current Medicare program into one in which Medicare beneficiaries receive a premium support payment — equivalent to 100 percent of the cost of the Medicare benefit — to purchase health coverage from a menu of Medicare-approved plans, similar to options available to members of Congress.”

The plan also reduced the prescription drug benefit for seniors with household incomes over $170,000

Despite the similarities to the current GOP budget, dozens of Republicans defected from this plan, including many members — like Dean Heller (R-NV) and Pete King (R-NY) to name two — who just walked the plank on the 2011 version.

In 2007, a similar story played out when 159 of their 202-member minority, including Boehner, voted for Ryan’s alternative. That version of his plan would have capped Medicare spending and cut it relative to the growth of health care costs, and would have imposed further means testing of the program. It didn’t lay out the precise privatization scheme included in the 2009 and 2011 Republican budgets, but it envisioned “a reform strategy that will advance the transformation of Medicare into a vital and flexible program that can meet its mission without imposing unmanageable burdens on the Nation’s medical community, and its economy.”

Republicans have been at this about as long as there’s been Medicare. But from time to time they make it obvious. In the 1990s, then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich proposed a milder version of the current Medicare phase out policy. His version would have preserved traditional Medicare as an option alongside a privatized program, and incentivized seniors to drop out of the government plan. Here’s how he famously described it in a speech to Blue Cross in 1996. “[W]e don’t get rid of it in round one because we don’t think that’s politically smart and we don’t think that’s the right way to go through a transition. But we believe it’s going to wither on the vine because we think people are going to voluntarily leave it.”

These votes were mostly about positioning. To the extent that they could succeed, they would have loved to, but the main ideas were to stake out bargaining stance, and draw a distinction between the GOP and the Democrats. But that’s precisely the point: if they had their way — if Congress was a parliament and Boehner was Prime Minister– this is what they would do.

Romney bets his candidacy on the economy

By Dan Balz, Published: May 28

BOSTON — Republican Mitt Romney will formally launch his second campaign for the White House on Thursday with an operation leaner and wiser than it was four years ago and a message singularly focused on what he sees as President Obama’s greatest area of vulnerability: jobs and the economy.

Romney and his advisers are working backward from November 2012. They believe that the economy will decide the outcome of the election and that the president has yet to convince voters that his economic policies have worked. They argue that Romney’s long experience in the private sector — his tenure as an elected official was just four years — makes him the Republican best positioned to challenge the president on how to fix what’s wrong.

“This election is going to be a referendum on President Obama and his handling of the economy,” said campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom. “He didn’t cause the economic recession, but his policies have prolonged it and deepened it in some respects. We wondered what it would be like to elect a president who has no experience. Now we know.”

Democrats dispute all that and say Romney’s vulnerabilities on economic issues are far greater than the president’s. “The president made the hard choices, exercised sound judgment, and his policies are helping American industry give people jobs again,” said Democratic National Committee press secretary Hari Sevugan. “Mitt Romney made no choices, exercised bad judgment and has a record of helping big business take jobs away.”

Still, the president’s team has already shown it takes Romney’s candidacy seriously. The first video ad aired by a newly formed independent group that is run by two former White House officials targeted Romney.

When Chrysler paid back its government loan last week, a success for the president, the DNC blasted Romney for having opposed the auto bailout. Romney’s camp responded that he had favored a managed bankruptcy — a course they claim Obama eventually pursued. The argument is surely the first of many to come between the two camps.

The former Massachusetts governor begins as the front-runner for his party’s nomination, but hardly a prohibitive favorite. He narrowly leads the field in the latest Gallup poll, but the Gallup organization also called him “the weakest front-runner in any recent Republican nomination campaign.” He will be severely tested by his GOP rivals, who will all begin to target him.

Romney’s goal, according to advisers, is to keep his eyes on the bigger prize and to run his own race, not one dictated by the other GOP candidates or by the round-the-clock media culture. His hope is to convince Republican voters that, whatever flaws they may see in him, he is still the strongest candidate for the general election.

A series of interviews with Romney’s top advisers reinforced that message. “The economy is not just a talking point,” said campaign manager Matt Rhoades. “It’s the real deal. He [Obama] took his eye off the ball, doing all these other things. People are hurting out there. He’s the boss.”